Kukla's Korner Hockey
by @DaveDavisHockey on 02/11/11 at 02:48 PM ET
Before last night’s 3-2 overtime win in Florida, the Buffalo Sabres since last March had literally as many three-game winning streaks as they had ownership changes.
So perhaps you can understand why some Sabres fans were feeling a bit giddy after the victory, to the point of making the game-winning goal scorer a trending topic on Twitter.
Noone here is planning a Stanley Cup parade just yet, but there’s a newfound wave of optimism in the midst of a healthy 12-4-1 run that has Buffalo back in the playoff conversation.
While the successful power play has been a big part of the turnaround, there’s also been a steady improvement in the play of the defense, even during the streak itself. In the first eleven games of this run, Buffalo gave up more than three goals five times. In the past six games, it’s only happened once.
The magic word here is depth. There was a stretch earlier this season where coach Lindy Ruff was pretty much relying on just four guys on defense, and the results weren’t good. The improved play of Mike Weber and Shaone Morrisonn has earned them a lot more ice time and has given the Sabres a blue line boost.
Morrisonn had a rough start to the season but has put together a nice seven-game stretch where he’s been a +8. Even more exciting and noteworthy has been the play of Weber, who seems to be settling in as an every-night player and has added a desperately needed element of grit and sandpaper to this defense.
Six of Buffalo’s next seven games are at home, and five of them are against non-playoff position teams. With the way things have been going, there just might be another Sabres trifecta in there somewhere.
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